Restless to a fault, Christopher Leyva has to be one of the most prolific artists to emerge from San Diego's music scene in the last decade. A tireless promoter, Leyva has the hustle to get his music and bands noticed, but without the goods to back it all up it would all come to nothing more than hype. Thing is, Leyva really knows how to craft a song and has production ideas that take his music far beyond the basic rock most bands churn out. Leyva's influences include seventies glam, white album-era Beatles, and more modern groups such as the Rembrandts.
It's true that his vocals, high and a bit nasally, are different from just about anyone else plying their trade around local stages. But listen to the way his melodies envelope his tones and you realize you are in the presence of someone who really understands the way sounds interact. With his voice a part of the instrumentation, the fact that he can pour song hooks on top of that equation, just adds icing to the cake.
It's been a busy year for Leyva, with multiple releases by his other groups, Blizzard and Revolution 89, but clearly he held back some of his best material for his own release. Not everything works, of course. There seems to be less production on the last half of the album for example; too many of the tracks here start with a stark voice and guitar combo. And nine songs is at least one too short for the full album effect. Still, this is a confident disc. When Singled Out finds its mark, it hits big.
With another local favorite, Lee Coulter, behind the mixing desk, the album starts strong with the one-two punch of "Beautiful Sky" and "Deja-Vu." The opener's moody folk rock vibe perfectly balances the power-pop syncopated rhythm and harmony blend of the latter.
There are all manner of ways to describe the music found within: eccentric, hook-filled, quirky, catchy, and rockin' come to mind. The key to Leyva's take on music is evident in the word play of the title. The lyrics deal with the aftermath of a relationship. He is now "singled out." It's the sort of thing songwriters have been mining for ideas for centuries, but Leyva's heartfelt conviction carries the songs where others might resort to clichés. However, the title also refers to Leyva's penchant to write songs in the classic three minute radio friendly mold, à la T-Rex, the Kinks, and classic Rundgren. Indeed, each of the tracks on this album could be pulled as singles. Hence the album is Singled Out.
If you're a novice to Leyva's world, this album is the best place to start.
released March 31, 2011
Lee Coulter - guitars,keys ,synths and produced by.
Chris Leyva was actually born in a small town outside of Oaxaca, Mexico. He arrived in San Diego as an eight-year-old. An
insatiable music fan, Leyva was soon hooked on the idea of rock \'n\' roll. He cites The Beatles, Nirvana, The Rembrandts as major influences .To date he has released seventeen albums. In 2003 he started up a music management agency Black Cherry Music Group....more